Warframe Review


Uploading Boredom

The last free-to-play game I played (and reviewed) was Ascend: Hand of Kul.  I enjoyed it; I’ve mostly forgotten about it, but at the time it was a decent distraction. A lot of people complain about microtransactions in free-to-play games, but Ascend  got them right by offering them but refraining from forcing them down players’ throats. I believe a game’s quality should be considered separately from its price, but I understand the gripes some people have. Fortunately Warframe,  like Ascend,  can be completed without paying a cent, which is great. Unfortunately it’s an entirely unoriginal and unmemorable third-person shooter.




Players control a character that’s part of a race known as the “Tenno”. They are fighting the “Grineer”. In order to defeat the Grineer, members of the Tenno wear suits of armor known as “Warframes”. That’s pretty much it for the story. It’s not exactly captivating sci fi, but people who are searching for rousing tales in third-person shooters that are designed to be played online should probably look elsewhere.




Warframe  plays like an almost-finished-but-not-quite version of Mass Effect.  It’s standard shooter fare in which a bunch of enemies crowd into a room and players must take them out. It’s the type of game that seems like it would be cover-based, but it isn’t. Players can duck behind objects in the environment, but it’s more of a defensive technique as they’ll have to be out in the open to deal damage (no blindfiring over the top of a box here). Warframe  is more of a run and gun type game that grants players an unlimited sprint and the ability to jump really high and perform parkour moves off walls. That’s right: another shooter beat Titanfall  to the parkour game.

Warframe  is also somewhat like a dungeon crawler with loot drops and whatnot. Various upgrades and items can be purchased with actual cash, but they are absolutely obtainable through simply playing the game as well. Enemies constantly drop loot, but some sections, especially boss fights, must be played multiple times in order to gain all the loot necessary to upgrade something. The best thing Warframe  has going for it is mods. Players can create mods for their Warframes by combining old upgrades to create new ones. It’s one of Warframe’s  only fresh features, and it’s one I’d like to see implemented in future games.

Warframe  can be played alone or with up to four players. The best way to experience it is with four willing participants. Levels move more quickly then, and some are even fun for a short while. Warframe  has a healthy community. Tons of players were online during my very first play session, which is odd considering that the PS4 just launched a little under half a year ago. If you’re going to play Warframe,  definitely play it with other human beings.



Graphics & Sound

Warframe  originally released on PC in March of last year and was ported to the PS4 in November, so we’re not exactly talking about a game that’s going to blow everyone away with its beauty. Still, I’ll take its consistent framerate any day over the numerous hiccups present in something like the PS4 version of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.  Shame about the audio mixing in Warframe,  though. The voice acting is all kinds of cheesy and the actors sound like they’re talking through soup cans. The music in Warframe  hardly ever sounds like it belongs in any part of Warframe  and instead comes across as a metallic assault on the eardrums.




If you’re going to borrow from Mass Effect,  make sure you borrow the right stuff. Warframe  is obviously a Mass Effect  wannabe, but it gets so much wrong. Warframe  features its own version of the Omni-Blade from Mass Effect  in the form of a sword, but it sucks in Warframe  too, suffering from the same issue of rarely connecting with an enemy. The AI in Warframe  is really terrible; enemies will often just stand around and do nothing until they’re brought down. I can’t even count how many times I lined up a headshot on an enemy who just stayed in the middle of a room and allowed me to. Warframe  is hardly ever challenging, but some shootouts can get chaotic and a few bosses actually put up a fight. Still, it’s not enough to make up for the overall blandness throughout.

Levels are designed in such a way that they become confusing labyrinths at times. It doesn’t help that Warframe  sometimes forgets to display objective markers, leaving players without any clue as to what to do next. It also doesn’t help that in some levels players have to jump to higher floors and the parkour action feels like trying to climb a wall of banana peels with a riding lawnmower. Warframe  can’t even manage to do things competently that games like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time  nailed over a decade ago.

Also, the user interface in Warframe  is really bad.  I loathed going into any menu in the game because they are all jumbled messes. I went out of way to avoid leveling up my character simply because I didn’t want my eyes to be assaulted by another uninviting screen. Even the level select screen in Warframe  is hideous with icons so small and so close together it’s difficult to tell what planet or galaxy you’re supposed to visit next. The UI in Warframe  seriously—urgently—needs an update.

SpawnFirst Recommends…

AvoidWarframe  may be a costless game, but I can’t think of a single person I would recommend it to. Way too many other free-to-play options exist to even bother with it. I would advise people to avoid it because of the UI alone, which really is dreadful. However, the gameplay itself is a buzzkill. If you plan on playing Warframe,  be sure to play it online with other people. You may be able to wring some enjoyment out of it. I did, but not nearly enough.